Now that I bought my first router (and a good quality one at that --
DEWALT DW618B3), I need to buy my first set of router bits.
At this stage, I am looking for a starter kit that has a broad
selection of styles and sizes of router bits so that I can start
learning and experimenting.
I am looking for good *value* in a broad selection kit. Quality is
important to some degree, but my budget is not unlimited and I am
planning on using this to learn. If/when I get better, I will know
what bits I value most and I can invest more in getting those in
I have seen the "Hickory Woodworking RBK1031 24-Piece Carbide Master
Router Bit Set, 1/2" Shank" priced at about $60. Is that a good match?
Any other recommendations?
For less than $3 per bit, you aren't going to get good bits. I've spent
considerably more than that and still gotten crap. If you REALLY just
want to get your feet wet, then understand the constraints you are
imposing on your purchase. Quality bits like Amana, whiteside, CMT,
Bosch, Freud cost more because they are worth the extra money. They cut
more smoothly, are better balanced (in general), and last longer than a
bargain basement set. I have some cheap Woodline bits that don't cut
cleanly, nor as easily as the same bits from Bosch. Course the price
differential is great. You can get cheap; but you can't get excellent
bits. For learning, I'm not sure you will be well served to have vastly
inferior bits to what you will ultimately want should you stick with
woodworking. OTOH, you'll at least have some different types of bits to
experiment with. No doubt you don't want to pay $30-$100 per bit at
this juncture. Have fun and don't get hurt!
First things first.
You can't get there from here buying "starter kits".
You buy the bits as you need to do a specific job.
I buy CMT carbide bits because they do the best job for me.
If you must buy some kits, buy a set of carbide rounding over bits, say
from 1/4" to 1/2" a set of straight sided bits from say 1/4" to 3/4" and
at least one (1) either pattern or template bit (Pattern following
bearing at either top or bottom of cutting surface as needed)
I have both.
I've just spent a couple of hundred $ of your money for good bits which
should keep you out of trouble for at least a couple of days.<G>
As already suggested, buy 1/2" shanks whenever you can.
Then I suggest you buy them as you need them. Buy the best you can
afford, unless it's a design you won't use often.... then a cheapie will
blueman ( firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote on Wednesday 06 July 2005 08:25 pm:
I bought a Grizzly 20 piece 1/2" set on Amazon for about $60 that I've been
pretty happy with. Regarding the "don't buy a set - buy what you need"
post, I suppose that's fine if you're familiar with what a router will do.
But I wanted a set with a variety of bits to play around with a figure out
what I wanted.
In addition to the kit, I've only bought two other bits: a 1/4" fluted
spiral and a 1/2" fluted spiral.
Also, pick up some dry lubricant. They'll start to rust real easy, even if
you don't use them.
Michael White "To protect people from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools." -Herbert Spencer
I've got a bix box o' carbide bits from Menards that cost $50, IIRC,
and they do the job most of the time. I've wrecked a couple of them,
and am slowly replacing them with better bits as they go. It's not
cheaper in the long run, but it does help stretch out the pinch over a
longer period of time while allowing you to actually *use* your
Keep in mind most sets include bits you will not use. that's why many
recomend buying as you need them. Quality speaks for itself - you get what
you pay for.
When I started I bought as I needed and found it to be good advice, but I
see now that Infinity Tools makes a small set that includes all your basics.
I think others now do the same. I have not used Infinity but from other
posts I beleive their quality is good. Check their web site
When I needed some bits that I would only use on
sporadically, I bought some MLCS bits. They are
pretty good for the price. Here is a link (watch the wrap):
Get half inch shanks.
Like everyone else said tho, you get what you pay for
One thing to check for when purchasing a kit, especially 1/4" shanks,
is the overall diameter of the routerbits, in some kits they are very
small so any guide bearings will also be very small in diameter. Some
of the bearings are so small that any imperfection or sawdust on the
edge that they run over will be magnified making a wavy cut.
I too have used the MLCS bits quite a bit. I use them on my jobs, and
bang for the buck they are outstanding. I buy this set in 1/2":
It gives you some good bits to goof around with, decide what you want
to do with your router, and explore some of the possibilities of using
multiple bits to form multple shapes. At least to give you a taste,
Then when you know what you want to do or even decide if you want to
spend more time and dough with the router you will have a better idea
of what you want. As for MLCS, I have never read anything bad about
their product, and their customer service is pretty good.
At some point you'll buy individual bits and that's where a potential
problem arises, how to store them so they don't roll around in a
drawer and bump into each other AND how to identify what each one is.
I built a box with both 1/4" & 1/2" holes in boards that have a means
for card stock with names for the bits. It is stored on runners under
the bench top above where the router table is stored. Plan NOW for
It seems that you're getting a lot of advice on this subject, so here's my
1) No matter what bits you buy, if your router will accept 1/2" bits, then
buy that size. That thicker shank seems to vibrate less and generally
2) Many have suggested brand named bits and if they're going to be used on
a daily basis, then one would agree. For example, if one is going to mill
solid surface countertop, the he/she would be justified in using Whiteside
or Amana bits. On the other hand, if one is going to use a roundover or
ogee bit on a small project or two made of pine, those 50-piece sets of
Chinese bits on Ebay are decent. The sets can probably be had for about
$1.25/bit and will work fine for smaller projects. If one should wear out a
particular bit from the cheap set, then replace it with a brand-name one.
Probably, this is a bit will often be used in the future. By contrast, why
pay $20.00/bit for an assortment of Whiteside bits, when one has no idea of
frequently of use? Without a particular project in mind, one can easily
spend twice the price of the router for an assortment of high-end router
3) Finally, if this is a learning experience, than why not use the cheaper
bits initially? You'd feel much better chipping the carbide or burning a
$1.25 bit, then doing the same on a new Whiteside bits.
I have the same router (DW618). I started my bit collection with a
1/2" shank, 15-piece set from MLCS, at $35 in their "Web Specials"
section. Free shipping. Granted, these are definitely not
top-of-the-line bits, but I haven't had any problems with tearout or
rough cuts. One bit broke when I was maybe using it a little hard, but
MLCS quickly replaced it free of charge (2-year warranty). At slightly
over $2/bit, just play around with these for a while, see which you use
most, and then get some good ones (Amana is probably the best I've
used, and I've also heard good things about Katana by MLCS, Infinity
Cutting Tools, and CMT).
Good luck and have fun,
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